Community Updates/November 2nd, 2008

Minh Ha Duong haduong at
Mon Nov 3 12:50:11 CET 2008


  An unofficial Openmoko Community newsletter for October 20th to November 2nd 
is available for your reading and editing pleasure at:

  Today's headline is: Android is definitely coming to the Neo FreeRunner. 
Many talented hackers have been working at it quietly this year, and Koolu 
targets a release this November. We have more news from the distributions, 
with Qt and FDOM updates, and the testing branch dealing with E repackaging. 
The number of applications and utilities is growing, a Doom port is just out! 
System-wise, memory timings and bootscripts received impressive 
optimizations, and the "echo bug" and "touchscreen jitter bug" were patched.


    * 1 Images
    * 2 Applications
    * 3 Hardware, community and wiki
    * 4 System-level improvements

[edit] Images

    * Yes, Android is coming to the FreeRunner. Shortly after Open Handset 
Alliance announced the launch of Android Open Source Project, Koolu announced 
that its Beta port of Android for Freerunner would be available to download 
in November 2008. Brian Code is working on it, but he is not alone, Sean 
McNeil is there too. I expect that Neo will have mechanical legs before 
    * FDOM: David et al. released again, announcing that development moved to 
a new home. Mirrors added, more needed. FDOM now exists as an installer 
script: the FDOMizer. It is meant to be run over an ASU 2008.x image or over 
an existing FDOM installation. In my experience, this script worked rather 
well, considering it is a first release.
    * Qtopia / Qt Extended on FreeRunner: Nokia released version 4.4.2 and a 
bugfix 4.3.3-snapshot. Downloads, release notes. There was a filesystem 
layout incompatibility between the 4.4.2 image and the latest mwester kernel, 
so Hypnotize released a working Qt EXtended 4.4.2 image.
    * October 2008 has come and gone, so I guess that we should start 
forgetting about 2008.10 and start expecting 2009.11. The showstoppers 
buglist is online and weekly testing reports are available.
    * The testing image: There has been big changes in E's foundation 
libraries upstream, so lots of breakage in Testing as E and illume are being 
repackaged. Breakage as in "The icons, they are all gone ?" That is what 
testing is for, so people got up to work and it was fixed in a few days, see 
this thread for details about the transition to the new packaging scheme.
    * Om2007.2 is not supported anymore. Most bugs in the Trac related to that 
distro have been closed with status "community". Here is to you, SHR.
    * The FSO team is in release mood, we expect another milestone soon. 

[edit] Applications

    * fso-control. A (suspend, reboot, shutdown) menu designed to pop up with 
the POWER button. Uses Python, Edje and frameworkd. release notes and ipk 
    * A basic Python led and vibrator management utility.
    * Sephora settings manager 0.2 alpha 3 released, adds GERMAN localization.
    * Mokoko yet another media player.
    * NeoTool, a hostside GUI to flash/backup the Neo, was updated.
    * Doom port for the Openmoko Freerunner Milestone 1 (Alpha) released. The 
thread points out where to the shareware IWAD level description files if you 
don't have doom1.wad or doom2.wad around.
    * Telephone auto-reply scripts were proposed. Kamil send one that replies 
with a "not available" SMS when one flips the FreeRunner face down. Alex 
showcased a project for a full phone firewall stack, with GUI.
    * On the same thread, Mickey reminded about the power of oeventsd 's rules 
file. This is a user-tweakable rules engine using yaml-syntax to configure 
system-wide behaviour on DBus events (what a mouthful !). It was introduced 
in FSO Milestones 3 and needs user feedback, and more documentation I guess. 

[edit] Hardware, community and wiki

    * If you find that the black case is kind of boring, Tobias has a tutorial 
on how to use printable self adhesive foil.
    * National Taipei University is starting a bunch of academic projects: The 
Bicycle Motion Information Displayer, Business Card Exchange system, 
Location-based mobile video streaming system, Dancing With the Mobile Phone
    * The Tsing Hua OpenLab held a workshop on 10/29, following the three GSoC 
interns at OpenMoko Inc.
    * The Erlang wiki page deserves a special mention in this newsletter for a 
few reasons. First, it received some TLC this week and is now one of the best 
articles in our wiki. Second, Erlang is based on concurrent functional 
programming, an interesting paradigm that needs more advertising. Third, it's 
nice to think that around the FreeRunner's cradle, there is not only Nokia, 
Swisscom and Google's electromechanical avatar, but also a sign of Ericsson 
research. Fourth, Erlang rocks for reliable soft real-time distributed 
telecoms applications and this is where the future is - see what Dash made of 
the Neo 1973 platform. 

[edit] System-level improvements

    * John Lee's team official bureaucratic name is 'optimization' team, but 
he prefers Keroro. Here is its status update for first week. They already 
have impressive boot time improvements (static /dev is a big gain, see Chia-I 
Wu's experimental fastboot images that get into Illume in about 50 seconds.). 
They are working on ticket 2071, python loader speed and resume visual 
feedback. John gave the trac a good lookover and closed more tickets than I 
can count.
    * Tick merged the fix written by Treviño that applied to qtopia-x11 the 
Mickey Lauer suggestions for the 'Echo Bug’ ticket 1267 in the git around 
October 15th, it works, can use more field testing. See also the thread Echo 
issue on OM2008.08 solved on the community mailing list.
    * He also merged a kernel patch by Dima Kogan that reduces the touchscreen 
jitter with light presses. See improved touch screen useability.
    * Harald looked at optimizing the NAND memory speed timings on the GTA02: 
Some initial experiments show that the performance can be easily improved by 
41%. However, the actual speed (6.59MBytes/sec) is still much lower than the 
theoretical maximum read performance of 15.64MBytes/sec. It seems there is 
more room for improvement inside the MTD layer of the Linux kernel.
    * Finally, uboot is not standing still. Three weeks ago Philipp Hug's 
patch for booting with an empty battery and Harald's rework of the DFU-upload 
code were applied. According to this thread, the LEDs in the first 
FreeRunners shipped use more electricity than they should, especially the red 
one (See the production history). 

Happy hacking,

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